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Duke’s Fuqua School of Business Tops Latest Bloomberg BusinessWeek Ranking

fuquaDuke University’s Fuqua School of Business shot to the top of Bloomberg Businessweek’s biennial ranking of full-time MBA programs, released today, up from No. 6 two years ago. In the process, the North Carolina school unseated the reigning University of Chicago Booth School of Business and pushed Harvard Business School (HBS) out of the top five for the first time in the history of the rankings.

The formula Bloomberg BW employs to arrive at its rankings is as follows: 45 percent of the score is based on how recruiters rate MBA hires from the school, another 45 percent is determined by how graduating MBAs judge their program and the remaining 10 percent is based on faculty productivity, as measured by a tally of research published in leading journals.

Fuqua was propelled to the No. 1 spot in great part due to its strong showing as part of Bloomberg BW’s employer survey. Notably, the employer survey was expanded significantly since the last ranking cycle to include responses from 1,300 recruiters, up from 250 in 2012. “We changed our employer survey from the last ranking cycle to better reflect the breadth of the recruiting landscape and to collect more data on how well MBAs do in the workplace,” Bloomberg BW said of the shift. Schools surveyed were asked to rate schools on how well their graduates performed in the areas the employers deemed most important, and the responses from companies that hire large numbers of MBAs were given additional weight.

Students and recruiters alike praised the collaborative spirit of Fuqua graduates, according to Bloomberg BW. The school’s ranking was also helped by the publishing steam of its faculty – which ranked second among all MBA programs in intellectual capital.

Chicago Booth got bumped to No. 3 this year, down from its first-place spot in 2012, as a result of Fuqua’s ascent to No. 1 and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School’s rise from third place to second. But more newsworthy was HBS’s plummet to No. 8, down from No. 2 in the last ranking. Student opinion was the driving factor in HBS’s decline, Bloomberg BW reports. In 2012, HBS ranked No. 12 in the student survey, and this year it slid to 25th. “While improvements in other schools’ student scores were a factor in the decline, the perception that the school caters to elites while neglecting women and minorities also played a role,” according to the Bloomberg BW report.

Specifically, HBS scored lowest among the top 10 business schools on the atmosphere it creates for women and racial and religious minorities. As for how the school ranks in terms of the climate it creates for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, HBS students skewered the school, placing it second to last out of all 112 schools on the list.

Like Fuqua, the Yale School of Management made significant inroads in this year’s rankings as well, securing the No. 6 spot, up from No. 21 in 2012. The New Haven program rose in the overall rankings thanks to stronger ratings by both students and employers this year than last. Columbia Business School also fared well, moving into fifth place, up from 13th last cycle.

As for a few fun facts compiled as part of Bloomberg BW’s 14th ranking, chew on these:

  • Yale SOM ranked first among U.S. schools for the climate created on campus for LGBT students, according to student responses.
  • UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business ranked first in terms of fun.
  • One Chicago Booth student claimed to have made 1,500 lifelong friendships during his MBA program.
  • The largest reported signing bonus – $1 million – went to a Columbia student going into consulting.
  • Stanford students who had accepted a job offer by spring reported the highest median total compensation of all business schools, $170,000.

View the complete 2014 Bloomberg BusinessWeek Business School Ranking.